Fabien Barel's Canyon Strive CF - Crankworx Rotorua

Mar 25, 2015
by Mike Kazimer  
Fab Barel bike check

Fabien Barel's Canyon Strive CF Race Bike

Fabien Barel won Pinkbike's Comeback of the Year Award for 2014 after making an incredible return to racing with a win at the final Enduro World Series race of the season in Finale Ligure, Italy. The fact that Fabien was able to participate at all was impressive, but to actually take the win against a stacked field of competitors made his return one for the history books. Fabien's ready to pick up where he left off, and he'll be lining up at the EWS series opener in Rotorua aboard a Canyon Strive CF that has a few trick modifications to make it even better suited to the unique demands of enduro racing.


Fab Barel bike check.
Fabien has a Monarch XX remote lever fitted to his Debonair for locking it out quickly on-the-fly.
Fab Barel bike check.
The Shapeshifter system allows the Strive to be switched between 130 and 160mm of travel.

The Strive's carbon fiber frame is an eye catcher, but it's the Shapeshifter system that really makes the bike stand out from the crowd of long travel four bar linkage bikes on the market. The Shapeshifter system relies on an air actuator that alters the position of the shock linkage by 15mm, a change that steepens or slackens the head angle by 1.5 degrees, raises or lowers the bottom bracket height by 19mm, and allows the bike to be run with 160 or 130mm of travel. Barel has the Shapeshifter remote lever located on the left side of his Renthal handlebar, but he's added another option to go along with the different travel modes. An XLoc Sprint lever is on the right side of his bar, connected to the bike's Monarch Debonair shock. That little black lever allows the rear shock to be locked out with one push, a feature that could be useful in a stage that has short climbing sections where efficiency trumps comfort, and using the Shapeshifter would be too time consuming.

Since making the switch from downhill to enduro racing, Fabien's handlebar height has lowered, and he currently runs a bar with 10mm of rise, and a minimal stack of spacers underneath his stem that he'll use to fine tune the height depending on the track. The RockShox Pike under those bars is a stock affair, with 3 bottomless tokens in place to provide enough ramp up to keep the fork from reaching the end of its travel too quickly. Braking duties are handled by SRAM's Guide Ultimate brakes, and the bike rolls on a Mavic Crossmax Enduro wheelset.

Fab Barel bike check.
The Shapeshifter mechanism is controlled by the lower lever, and the Reverb dropper post remote sits above it.
Fab Barel bike check.
Shifting duties and a rear shock lockout are located on the right side.

Asymmetric Chain Ring

The jury's still out on oval chainrings for mountain biking, but they're popping up more often then ever before. Fabien's running a 34 tooth ring from OSymetric, a company that only recently branched out into the off-road market after concentrating solely on the road bike side of things. Although it looks like it from a distance, the shape of the ring isn't exactly an oval – it's what OSymetric calls a 'twin cam' shape. The theory behind the ring is that it helps to eliminate the dead spot in a rider's pedal stroke, which in turn is claimed to increase power and reduce leg fatigue. Because the ring isn't equipped with a narrow-wide tooth profile, an upper guide is in place along with lower guide to ensure the chain stays in place. Race day is this Saturday, and if Fabien does well his competition is sure to be weighing the pros and cons of asymmetric chainrings for themselves.
Fab Barel bike check.




77 Comments

  • + 158
 Sharp hill coming up, all I've got to do is..
- Shift gears CLICK.. click
- Raise my saddle PUSH
- Lock out my shock PUSH
- Shift shape PUSH (and shift weight)

Oh no, here's a really steep DH section ..ermmm
- Drop saddle PUSH and SIT
- Shift shape PUSH
sh#t, I'm still locked out!
crash>

I'm sure Fabian's got it dialled but I still forget to unlock suspension with half the controls!
  • + 24
 It'll soon be a single button for the saddle, lockout, and shape-shifter, all controlled through a digital control unit. Digital is likely as that would make it easily customizable, e.g. short push = all change, long push = just X changes, double-tap = just Z, etc. Having said this, I still seriously question if this development is actually making riding bikes more fun, but I really don't see what would prevent that development.
  • - 3
 ^^^how about: a digital push button that works just like dropper post. if you sit on the saddle, it drops, if you stand it rises.

BUT a sensor detects if the post is extended or dropped. if dropped, all suspension full open/max travel. if raised, full lock/min travel.

That's what I would like. simplicity. Only problem is I choose to ride some downhills with the shock in climb mode, mostly flow trails.
  • + 14
 Can't wait for the digital bike with no levers and no handlebar. Rides the trail for you.

Enjoy being the passenger and taking in the scenery.

Battery will ensure endless trail discovery for about 2 hrs.

Comes at a 4 lbs weight penalty, only double of what 650B imposed over 26"
  • + 21
 I have proposed anal probe shifters since ages.
waki-leaks.blogspot.se/2014/02/waki-leak-buttsx-dropper-post.html
  • + 3
 As an OCD engineer and bike lover, I approve of his setup. When a rider gets used to how he wants his bike to function, it's amazing how quickly he does stuff mentally. I imagine Fabian can make most of those adjustments without even thinking.
  • + 6
 I completed a whole DH section at Tweedlove last year locked out back end. Very intense 60seconds
  • + 6
 This comment. I thought we were almost to the point of having well tuned shocks and suspension linkage kinematics where this shit wouldn't be needed. Loose the front derailleur and the handlebars are clean. Let's fill them up again with lockouts/travel/geometry adjust.
  • + 2
 @racerfacer Part of it comes from taking a bike out of it's element, I think. I never use climb/lockout on trails, but it's nice to have for self shuttle up roads.
  • + 31
 I'm still waiting for a sound activated bike.

If I yell "Braaaaaaaaaaaaap!@!" The bike knows I'm going down hill and the shock un-locks, seat drops and bike shifts into go fast gear.

If I start wheezing uncontrollably the bike knows I'm trying to climb a hill. Shock locks out, seat raises, bike shifts into easy gear and a soothing female voice tells me there's beer at the top of the hill for extra motivation.
  • + 1
 I would have to name this bike after a transformer if it were mine.
  • + 1
 the answer Lapierre Spicy 527Ei. ps damper control. work like a dream.
  • + 1
 I'd like to have 1 lockout like the XLoc full sprint for the rear shock, front fork and have the Shapeshifter it can be electronic like iCD or hydraulic like xlock so if I press it I'll lock eveything and put the Shapeshifter in 130 mm and if I press it again it will be like in downhill mode
and the other for the sadle Big Grin that's it... or do it everything automatically like the one who have lapierre or like magura elect for the whole system, shock, fork and Shapeshifter Big Grin
  • + 0
 To everyone hates on tech but loves the advantages that come with it: How about you buy a rigid fixie or shut the f*ck up.
  • + 2
 @poozank Stop trolling and let people hate what they want to hate.
  • + 4
 Hater haters gonna hater hate.
  • + 43
 Just needs a lever to lock out the front fork and then another one to adjust fork travel; Then it will be a WakiDesigns science fiction bike turned into reality.
  • + 3
 More levers is always a good thing... /sarcasm off
  • + 9
 Tells a tale about the Shapeshifter if Fabien Barel still wants a remote lockout on his Monarch.
  • + 3
 Moar levers = moar faster.
  • + 6
 He's an engineer. Of course he wants more levers.
  • + 3
 @Vanguard: shapeshifter shifts between 130 and 160 mil travel...it´s not a lockout! these are two different stories :-)
  • + 1
 @TonieMelonie I know what the Shapeshifter is. It reduces travel, but also changes geo (head angle, etc.). Actually, their claim is that it transforms your bike from a "bike that climbs like an XC racer and bombs descents like a DH rig"

That is a huge claim, and if fulfilled, you'd hardly need a lockout on your rear shock.
  • + 4
 I'd still lock out the shock of an XC bike on fire road or blacktop climbs. Might be why he has it.
  • + 1
 I invoke @WAKIdesigns ! I summon you!
  • + 2
 I shall pass... on this one
  • + 0
 @Vanguard: don´t know what to say...just like you blame all XC guys for having a lockout? mmhh...all right!
  • + 1
 @TonieMelonie That isn't the point. The point is that they designed (and patented) a sophisticated system similar to what Bionicon had created before. They claim it transforms your bike from a DH rig to a XC racer and back again, on the fly. Then the racers find that it actually only solves one issue and you still want a lockout. So you end up with another lever and the mechanism of the Shapeshifter is far from quick. Why didn't they go the whole way and include a lockout? Also, some bikes don't need a lockout, because the suspension design is dialed - this one apparently does need it.
  • + 12
 Fabien is such an awesome athlete, methinks he could race on a steel hardtail tricycle with no seat post at all and still kick everyone's arse. Looking forward to see him score bigtime!
  • + 4
 Crossmax charge on the rear is interesting. Magic Mary front. Seat slammed forward. 50ish mm stem that looks to have some rise possibly? Probably riding the largest frame that they offer despite being only 5'10". I thought Fabien was with Fox and Renthal but this seems to have changed.
  • + 1
 He's still on renthal, look closer
  • + 1
 Oh the Carbon Fatbar, thanks. The mobile format doesn't show that much detail so it just looks black to me.
  • + 27
 That's because the Roam is a commuter tyre..... Any sharp eyed bikers notice that he also is using a front rim on the rear? (count the spokes). Apparently he can only do this by using an old SX hub, painted yellow and re-stickered.... That is again because the rear Crossmax Enduro rim is suitable for going to the shops, as long as you don't drop off any kerbs! yes, I've got a pair and yes the back wheel is more battered than a Porn Star's back door...
  • + 1
 Canyon will never get it right with their seat angle, had the same trouble with my old Nerve and Torque, and now with the Spectral too.
The saddle position is strange when fully extended.

I guess that lockout for the simple Debonair is a must? When he was on Fox he had that very special tuned CTD X...always something very special, maybe the suspension on the Strive is just as poor as on the Spectral (see testing on mbr).
Or is it because the shapeshifter just doesn't work properly....? Wink
  • + 0
 @cxfahrer : You're 100% spot on with the seat angles.

I'm tired of them calculating virtual seat angles that look nice on a geo chart, only to find out that pedaling suffers compared to another bike with exactly the same seat angle.

It is also time for them to get their suspension design right. Horst link has been out for ages, no need anymore for using rear shocks with stock tunes and the resulting pedal bob.
  • + 2
 Yikes, dat seat position! It just looks weird...
  • + 2
 @notphaedrus he could just be using a current Crossmax XL rear wheel painted yellow. Y'know, the one they released 6 months after everyone had bought Enduro's and said "oh by the way, this one's just as good and it's strong enough to stay in one piece, unlike the one you just spent £800 on" :p
  • + 1
 @wingguy could be... and that's where I'd be putting my money if they didn't look so drab. The rim is an enduro one rather than the XL though ifyou look. I agree that the XL is a superb wheel, I've been running a rear prototype of this week for an unbelievable 5 years, which has done 2 Megavalanches and much much more... still a decent shape!
  • + 5
 He runs that ring since he broke his leg way back when he was racing downhill. We saw the likes of it when he raced his proto mondraker sumun in Australia
  • + 5
 I rock the seat all the way up. It's not Enduro if it isn't all the way extended.
  • + 3
 I find it funny that I get more information on the real "details" of these Pro bikes from the commenters. Thanks Pinkbike members.
  • + 1
 Mike might to do a bit more research btw again, sorry Mike, a couple lf observations on Fabians bike setup, the lower stem seat pos and ring were all part of Fabian having to readapt his style to be able to ride again after last years serious injury. Alot of this isnt nessecarily the latest thing or best for most people. Lower stem is not because of a change to Enduro from DH it helped him as weird as it sounds to me with his post injury physical condition, for me Ive taken to Fabs older setup and Nico Laus current setup due to my spinal injury, but different bike, so maybe on his bike the Canyon has a long head tube its different needs Ring was to help take pressure off from legs and back, what I read from him last year, injury and getting older the body needs more care, Fabians one if not the smartest rider out theyre in the last decade atleast and only Nico Vouliouz would be as meticulous in outsdie thinking especially back in the day, less so now by the looks, but not Fabian he knows his body as well as his bikes engineering which is amazing. Anyway hope he kills it tomorrow. Gook luck, a true great and sic bike btw
  • + 2
 A chainguide is not in place because of the normal tooth profile on his ring, but because it is the only thing that's keeping him from losing the chain no matter how advanced and narrow wide the chainring is
  • + 1
 That ring is not narrow-wide, that brand doesn't use that pattern like Absolute Black, because that he need to run the chainguide
  • + 2
 What I was trying to say is, that even with a narrow wide ring he would still need a chainguide.
  • + 0
 If you say so... lots of guys in the enduro rigs article with no chainguide, though.
  • + 2
 Lots? you mean 1 guy? Wow that completly changes everything.
  • + 2
 I have a strive CF and that remote for the shapeshifter is way different than stock. Anyone have any idea what it is?? Looks a bit like the remote for a FOX Seatpost.
  • + 1
 Looks similar to a 2013 Fox remote lever for the rear shock, with one of the two levers removed, except this has three cavities rather than two.
  • + 2
 Yup I agree. Interesting as the stock shapeshifter remote is annoying if you want to have the reverb remote on the left of the bars. They clash a bit. I think I might investigate this a bit more as to how this could be done.
  • - 3
 I'd say the Shapeshifter as a whole is annoying. Companies should create good suspension designs, use custom tuned rear shocks and decide on a geometry that works, instead of designing proprietary solutions that look like an engineer's dream but actually turn out to be a biker's nightmare in terms of usability, maintenance etc.
  • + 2
 What are seam guide ultimate brakes? Are they above the rsc in their lineup?
  • + 2
 Dammit I knew I should have kept my DCD, they'll be back in fashion soon and an original would have been worth something!
  • + 2
 I wonder, what are the height and frame size of Barrel's bike? Can anyone helps me?
  • + 1
 5 10 and large-race.
  • + 1
 As you climb and climb hard not getting enough oxygen to the brain it's kinda hard to remember all those buttons to press in what order . Will make it intreasting tho
  • + 1
 For the rear shock remote, is that an XLoc Sprint? Which Monarch is that rear shock? Anyone know if that will work with a Monarch Plus Debonair? Is that a custom job?
  • + 0
 as far as I know the only one that come with Xlock is the Monarch XX www.sram.com/rockshox/products/monarch-xx, it will be great to have it on the monarch plus RC3 and I don't know why Rock Shock don't put the XLock on more models including front suspension like PIKE...
  • + 3
 That frame looks like it was designed by Batman. That's a complement.
  • + 1
 Why not just run and Absolute Black direct mount oval ring? Lighter and it has a narrow/wide tooth profile.
  • + 0
 That lever for the shapeshifter looks ace, got a Strive on the way and want to get that lever, Fabien what is it?
  • + 1
 An impressive piece of German engineering Smile
  • + 1
 This looks so....overdesigned.
  • + 1
 Apparently he doesn't like the seat tube angle.
  • + 1
 Saw him out doing runs today. Kinda wish i had the balls to go say gday !
  • + 1
 Beautiful bike check.
How it should be done Smile
  • + 1
 Fabien is as Fabien does - we should all take example!
  • + 1
 so true bro, too many stuck in a rut of thinking
  • + 1
 any info on that hybrid chain guide/chainstay protector?
  • + 3
 Check this link: media.canyon.com/download/manuals/E168_Chainguide.pdf

It comes standard with the Strife CF xtr build.

Kind of looks like the bionicon c-guide.
  • + 1
 So Sic, bike and rider
  • - 2
 Isn`t Fabien still working with Mondraker, or he left the company? Mondraker also has their enduro line, so i wonder why is he on Canyon...
  • + 2
 He must have left mondraker almost 2 years ago and moved to canyon.
  • + 1
 what size is he riding?
  • + 1
 The frame size is the standard of the shelf large-race, data sheet can be found on their website www.canyon.com/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=3511
  • + 0
 My dream bike.
  • - 2
 Nice! May want to re-check that sag... Just sayin'.

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